Biden Urges Congress: Prevent Government Shutdown, Provide Urgent Aid to Ukraine and Israel

Congressional leaders are feeling hopeful about preventing a partial government shutdown, despite the new uncertainty related to aid for Ukraine and Israel. President Joe Biden gathered the leaders to the White House to address a legislative deadlock on Capitol Hill with global implications, particularly as Ukraine faces challenges in defending against Russia’s invasion. 

Biden called the leaders to the White House in hopes of making progress against a legislative logjam on Capitol Hill that has major ramifications not just for the US but for the world as Ukraine struggles to repel Russia’s invasion with weapons and ammunition starting to run short. The need is urgent, and the consequences of inaction every day in Ukraine are dire.

Democratic leaders upon exiting the meeting were blunt about the dangers Ukraine is facing. They said to the speaker, ‘get it done,’ Schumer said. “I said I’ve been around here a long time, and if you don’t do the right thing, whatever the immediate politics are, you will regret it. Referring to Johnson, he said, ‘Really, it’s in his hands. It’s in his hands.”

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McConnell Urges Action on $95B Foreign Aid Bill

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Congressional leaders are feeling hopeful about preventing a partial government shutdown, despite the new uncertainty related to aid for Ukraine and Israel.

Johnson spoke to reporters on his own, without Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell by his side. McConnell voted for a $95 billion foreign aid bill earlier this month that would aid Ukraine and Israel, replenish US defense systems, and provide humanitarian assistance for Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine, and other populations caught in conflict zones. 

The bill passed the Senate 70-29, but the Republican-led House has not acted on it, despite pleas from McConnell and others for action.

Johnson rejected a US Mexico border security compromise that was eventually stripped from the final product, signaling no change in his position on Ukraine aid. He said the Senate’s package “does nothing” to secure the US-Mexico border, the GOP’s demand in return for helping Ukraine. “It’s time for action,” Johnson said of the border.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns also joined the meeting, who has played key roles coordinating the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas after its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

McConnell asked the House to consider the bill passed by the Senate, with many backers convinced it would receive strong support if brought to a vote in the House by Johnson.

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